Former officer would have been dismissed for inappropriate comments
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A former officer who made ‘unwanted and persistent’ inappropriate comments to colleagues and a member of the public would have been dismissed had he not already resigned, a hearing has ruled.
Mark Benger made sexualised comments to five female colleagues in person and via social media between March 2021 and July 2022.
The two-day hearing which was held online also heard evidence that he had sent inappropriate messages via Facebook Messenger to a witness to an investigation in March 2022. He resigned in May this year, having joined the force in March 2021.
Mr Benger, who did not attend the hearing, was found to have breached the Standards of Professional Behaviours for authority, respect and courtesy; confidentiality and discreditable conduct, with his behaviour amounting to gross misconduct.
The panel concluded that Mr Benger’s proven conduct was ‘in many respects sexually motivated’ and was sustained over a period of time affecting ‘multiple victims’.
Chair of the panel David Tyme concluded: “(He) was an older and more experienced officer and as result, was perceived to occupy a position of trust relative to the female police officers and abused their trust and respect.”
Deputy Chief Constable Dan Vajzovic said: “Mark Benger persistently pursued young in-service female colleagues. His actions were wholly inappropriate and despite the relatively short time he was in policing he has brought discredit upon the service.
"There is no place in this force, or anywhere in policing, for this kind of behaviour. Everyone should be able to come to work without fearing they will be subjected to harassment. We will continue to take robust action against anyone who acts in this way or betrays the trust and confidence that the public should have in policing."